Women's Basketball Works Overtime To Clinch First Post-Season Berth In Six Years With 80-74 GNAC Victory Over Norwich

Women's Basketball Works Overtime To Clinch First Post-Season Berth In Six Years With 80-74 GNAC Victory Over Norwich


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Athletic Center, Newton, Mass.




NEWTON, Mass. --  Senior Imani Bumpus (Dedham, Mass.) scored 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds and recorded three steals as Mount Ida clinched its first post-season berth in six years with an 80-74 Great Northeast Athletic Conference overtime women’s basketball victory over Norwich Thursday evening at the Athletic Center.


The host Mustangs (13-10, 6-8 GNAC) overcame an early seven point deficit to trail by only three (19-16) after the opening quarter of action, and Mount Ida held the visiting Cadets (9-12, 6-7 GNAC) to just eight points in the second stanza to grab a 29-27 lead at the break.  Norwich forged a three-point edge (33-30) on junior Emily Oliver’s (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) three-pointer 2:28 after intermission, but the Mustangs used a 12-4 run over a 3:22 stretch late in the third quarter to take their largest lead in regulation (49-41) on a pair of free throws by senior Patricia Liotta (Hampton Bays, N.Y.) with 84 seconds remaining in the frame. 


Mount Ida took a six-point advantage (52-46) into the final 10 minutes of regulation, but the Cadets scored the first seven points of the fourth stanza to take a 53-52 edge on senior Paige McNally’s (Barre, Vt.) jumper just 1:48 into the quarter.  The hosts regained a five-point lead (61-61) halfway through the frame on freshman Melody Millett’s (Naples, Maine) jumper, but the visitors again rallied with five unanswered points to even matters before taking a 65-62 cushion on senior Shyann Josler’s (Thetford Center, Vt.) lay-in with 2:43 to play in regulation.  Junior Vanessa Fleury’s (Lebanon, N.H.) lay-in with a minute to go again gave the Cadets a three-point lead after the Mustangs crept back to within one, but Mount Ida forged a 67-67 tie on Liotta’s three-pointer with 39 seconds remaining, as neither team was able to get off a game-winning shot attempt in the final ticks of regulation.


Senior Breanna Muir’s (Wareham, Mass.) conventional three-point play in the opening seconds of the overtime period gave the Mustangs the lead for good, as a jumper by sophomore Valerie Martin (Derry, N.H.) was followed by a Bumpus three-pointer to extend the hosts’ advantage to six (76-70) with 2:33 to go in the extra session.  Norwich crept back to within four on a pair of occasions in the overtime period, the last coming on Oliver’s jumper with 1:19 to play, but a Bumpus jumper just inside the final minute closed out the scoring and secured Mount Ida’s first playoff spot since the 2011-12 campaign.


Martin finished with a double-double effort of 19 points, 11 rebounds and three assists in the triumph for the Mustangs, who received 14 points, eight assists and four boards from Muir.  Sophomore Taylor Churchill (Fort Fairfield, Maine) came off the bench to score 10 points (including a trio of three-pointers) for the winners, who received seven points and three caroms from Millett.  Liotta added five points, two assists and a pair of steals for Mount Ida, which received four rebounds, two assists and two steals from fellow senior Jaime Moscato (Taunton, Mass.) along with a key bucket from sophomore Alisa Benson (Middletown, R.I.).  The hosts shot 38 percent (27-71) overall and connected for eight three-pointers on the night, as the Mustangs also held an 18-10 scoring advantage at the foul line.  Mount Ida converted 22 turnovers into 22 points as well as 13 offensive rebounds into 18 second chance points in the contest, as the hosts posted their second victory over the Cadets in the 12-game series between the two schools.


Fleury finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in the setback for Norwich, which received 15 points, seven assists and three boards from Josler.  Freshman Riley Bennett (Hopkinton, N.H.) added 12 points (including four three-pointers) and six caroms for the Cadets, who received 10 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals from Oliver.  Senior Arianna Harrison (Vernon, Vt.) chipped in with nine points and six boards for the visitors, who also shot 38 percent (27-71) and canned 10 treys for the contest.  Norwich held a 50-43 rebounding advantage overall and recorded 22 assists on 27 field goals on the night, as the Cadets also posted 20 points in the paint.


Mount Ida hosts Emmanuel in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference clash on Saturday afternoon at the Athletic Center that tips-off at 1:00 p.m., while Norwich entertains Johnson & Wales in a GNAC contest on Saturday afternoon in Northfield, Vt. that also begins at 1:00 p.m.